By Oliver Lyttelton | www.oliverlyttelton.com November 18, 2010 at 2:59AM
Awards season is firmly underway now, and the calendar of dinners, drinks and screenings held by studios to pimp their hopeful nominees is already filling up. But if you're not an Academy voter, what does this mean for you? Surely it's just a bunch of actors talking about lame things like motivation and craft, right? No talk of superhero movies of any kind, presumably...
That's where you're wrong! The stigma of strapping on the spandex has long since disappeared, and awards-worthy actors at these events will find themselves answering as many questions about their upcoming comic book flick as they have to about what it was like to work with Saoirse Ronan. Take Mark Ruffalo, for instance. When negotiations between Marvel and Edward Norton, regarding the actor reprising his role as Bruce Banner/The Hulk, fell apart, Ruffalo was the surprise pick to replace him, being unveiled along with the rest of "The Avengers" line-up at Comic-Con.
The actor's currently (and rightfully) getting a good deal of Oscar buzz for his excellent supporting performance in Lisa Chodolenko's "The Kids Are All Right" (which, remarkably, only took Ruffalo six days on set to capture), and both HitFix and Vulture spoke to the actor about his next gig, on "The Avengers."
HitFix report that, prior to the Sundance unveiling of "The Kids Are All Right," Ruffalo had been considering retiring from acting to focus on directing, but the success of that film (plus, we imagine, the poisonous reviews given to his directorial debut "Sympathy for Delicious" at the same time) encouraged him to keep going, and take on the challenge of playing the Hulk -- which, when it rolls in April, will be Ruffalo's first time in front of a camera since the 16 months since he shot Chodolenko's film.
With Vulture, meanwhile, the actor discusses the unusual process that led to his casting, and the level of scrutiny it subjected him to. Apparently, negotiations went down to the wire (names like Joaquin Phoenix and David Tennant were also said to be in the running), and Ruffalo was told to wake up at 4am on the morning of Comic-Con; if there was a car outside his New York home, it meant the talks had worked out, and he had the role. As history relates, that car was there, but Ruffalo calls Comic-Con "one of the weirdest moments" of his career, claiming "I'm not used to getting a part and having it that scrutinized and that debated. I usually come in the back door and surprise people, but there's so much onus on it."
Ruffalo also confirmed that he'll be the first actor to actually play the Hulk via motion-capture, and that he hasn't yet read a finished script -- something he admits gives him pause, as he refers to having done it once before, and "it didn't go well, let's just say that." (it sounds like "Rumor Has It," but there's a few other contenders...). But, having said, that, he still feels confident: "I trust Joss... I talked to Robert Downey Jr. a bit about it. I trust that we're going to make it good, and I have a good feeling." We'll see when Ruffalo appears in the film, alongside Downey Jr, Chris Hemsworth, Chris Evans, Samuel L Jackson, Jeremy Renner, Scarlett Johansson and Clark Gregg, when it's released on May 4th, 2012.